The suicide rate in Colorado has dropped 40% during COVID quarantine

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/02/the-suicide-rate-in-colorado-h.html

9 Likes

These are very interesting findings.
Redirection of focus on surviving day to day life, without bumping shoulders with swarms of people you may generally have wanted to avoid. Instead, opening up to strangers to have real discussions about your feelings. Depending on one’s financial support systems, not having to clock in at a 9-5 job that feels like showing up to school?
Am I projecting? Maybe.
I’m happy to hear people are making that phone call.
I hope life maintains this human pace.

16 Likes

I can only speak for myself, but my mental health has certainly improved after having the opportunity to work from home for a few months. There is more time (and money) for hobbies and more opportunities for mutual aid and integration with the community in general. It can not be overemphasized how much of a mental energy boon is realized by not being forced into small talk in the (windowless) office.

It seems like there is a push (mostly by pro-business types) to GET BACK TO WORK!! If anything that is what will cause the next mental health crisis.

20 Likes

Purely anecdotal, but in support of the findings, I live in Colorado and I haven’t felt like killing myself in the last few months as often as before. At least not for the usual reasons. Now the only reason that occasionally comes up is wanting to get away from this stupid world. I feel like I can see where we are heading, and I’m not a fan.

The difference in myself might be due to the change in my daily grind, including being able to work from home for longer than a day for the first time in my career. No telling how I’m going to feel if it’s decided we have to return to the office.

11 Likes

And neighbors. I’ve never seen so much community goodwill and explicit friendliness as I have since this began. Even just giving people space at the grocery or gas station shows such a deep level of respect and deference. I know not everyone is on board, but they were selfish assholes before, anyway.

It is easy to get distracted by the morons packing beaches and inciting terrorist actions at state capitols, but the vast majority of people are being profoundly kind. And at least in NY, this started before the governor issued any guidance and went further than was mandated.

7 Likes

Absolutely.
Having moved out (been driven out) of a not so family friendly apartment building into a place with neighbours who are the light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve made an effort to build a community to great success. The little freakosystem the people in our former building had created for themselves was so far removed from real life.
Knowing full well not to compare this pandemic to 9/11, it’s effect on New York residents was noticeable when I travelled there in 2010. An elderly woman in union square came up to me and as a very obvious naive student tourist I assumed she wanted something from me. Instead she pointed way up at a falcon, saying, Y’don’t see that every day in New York, do you? Haven’t seen that ever.
It was a nice human moment I’m not sure locals would have time for before folks came together.

5 Likes

Fake News!! Il Douche said the quarantine would cause mass suicide and he is a stable genius with a very large brain, so there!! (/s)

5 Likes

New Yorkers are awesome. I came from Missouri where people think they’re friendly, but are generally cold as ice if you aren’t a white conservative. New Yorkers tend to be more forward and aggressive in language, but will stop what they’re doing to help someone out. I never felt at home until I moved here…

9 Likes

It’s worse than that, even. They have continued and enhanced the policies that put firearms within easy reach of most Americans, and firearms contributed 24,000 suicide deaths in the US in 2018. So it’s not even gross indifference; it’s active malice.

ETA: and since we’re talking about it, it’s worth linking:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

9 Likes

Fox “News” had some asshat doctor on the air who claimed that his hospital had seen 10 months worth of suicide attempts in one month of the quarantine. Fox then did their usual thing, failing to verify it, then exaggerating and spinning it out of control, claiming that California’s suicide rate had increased ten times due to the quarantine and then that more people were dying from suicide than the virus.

Meanwhile an actual reporter tracked him down and questioned him about his assertion, at which point he admitted that, well, if you looked at things numerically, his statement wasn’t remotely correct… and that, essentially, he had made the whole thing up. Fox, of course, made no retractions or corrections because at that point they were dealing with pure fantasy assertions that they had made up, anyways.

10 Likes

Don’t we have an international version of the suicide hotline somewhere on the BBS?

2 Likes

Another possibility is the relief people have from micro-managing passive-aggressive asshole bosses hovering nearby all day.

2 Likes

I haven’t found a single number that is global in scope. Wikipedia has a list of the country-specific numbers:

3 Likes

Not in Colorado, but I attempted last month. Ended up in ER. I’ve got my strength back, and trying to fill my days with activities, so I’m basically employing the second theory.

Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain.

Drugs help suppress too. It’s terrible, but my only option is to suppress. A sign that the anti-depressants are starting to kick in is that it’s nice reading every one’s comments about how this improved their mental well-being. So that’s good.

I’m on Day 3 of finding toilet paper. Still dealing with this. But it’s an activity. Wish me luck after work-from-home!

6 Likes

I’m so sorry. I’m glad you survived.

kitty-hugs

And also…

caitlin-doughty-■■■■■

7 Likes

I’m with you there. (Hugs if you want 'em.)

I had a phone appointment with my psychiatrist this morning to see if I needed any adjustments to my medications. Most of the in depth “talking” sessions have been with my therapist, but my VA Outpatient clinic got the new psychiatrist at the end of last year, so she’s better about asking questions than the previous one and visits with her does feel closer to therapy sessions (and therefore much better!)

She asked how the current situation(s) are affecting my mental health. I noted that I’ve had to do a bit of my usual self-analysis because there are a lot of very good reasons to be depressed right now, so it comes down to “is the source of these feelings internal or external” and they’re almost all external right now. Some of my usual methods of increasing my Serotonin (e.g., play parties and other social events with my people) aren’t available right now, but I have enough time and energy to get in a schedule run every other day, so that’s actually helping.

Of course I also suspect that a drop in suicide rates can also be attributed to a lot less direct dealing with jerks and other horrible people. You may see that idiot coworker who can’t get your pronouns right via Zoom meetings, but then you turn off the camera and they’re gone. They’re not sitting two cubes over, in the break room, etc.

4 Likes

Yup

2 Likes

I can’t “like” this, but you’re not alone and I’m very glad you’re still here and sharing with us.

3 Likes

if medical examiners are running a 40% backlog it would also give that statistic, you should probably wait a few months before declaring victories, that’s happening in Florida too huge improperly categorized deaths

A few weeks ago, a discussion in my ER was:

Where are the heart attacks?
Where are the strokes?
Where are the attempted suicide patients?

We were all surprised to note that suicide attempts seemed way down.  Pleasantly surprised.  I'm glad to see it wasn't just our hunches, and that it was real.  And I dearly hope the trend stays in place, and the numbers get even lower.